Cumberland debate - 9/25/18

U.S. Senate candidates Marsha Blackburn, left, and Phil Bredesen held their first debate on Sept. 25 at Cumberland University. (Photos: AP/Pool)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -- NBC News and The Associated Press are projecting Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) has won the race for U.S. Senate race against former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D).

Blackburn and Bredesen were vying for the seat left vacant by Sen. Bob Corker, who decided to retire at the end of current term.

Blackburn addressed her supporters Tuesday night, declaring victory.

“You have sent a message that it is time to take Tennessee conservative values to Washington and keep our state and our country moving forward. I am so incredibly grateful to each of you for doing your part, standing with me, staying strong and turning out the vote. It is such an honor to be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee. I am going to work as hard for you as you have worked for me. Just as we said on day one, I will take our shared Tennessee values to work on issues of importance to you in Washington: more constitutional federal judges and Supreme Court Justices, lower taxes, less regulation, protecting the right to life, defending the Second Amendment, providing for our troops and veterans, getting the federal budget under control and building the wall once and for all on the southern border. Thank you for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. This is very humbling, and I will not let you down.”

Bredesen addressed the crowd at his concession speech, stating "I applied for this job, and got a rejection letter."

Republicans from across the state have begun releasing statement congratulating Rep. Blackburn in her victory. 

The Republican National Committee submitted a statement to local news media congratulating Senator-elect Blackburn with a jab against musician Taylor Swift, an outspoken supporter for Bredesen.

“Unfortunately for Phil Bredesen, he’s not going to be able to just shake it off. Congratulations, Senator-elect Blackburn!" said Republican National Committee spokesperson Garren Shipley. 

Sen. Bob Corker:

"I called tonight to congratulate Bill and Marsha on their victories. As I shared with both of them privately, it has been my greatest privilege of my life to represent the people of Tennessee in the United States Senate, and I am committed to doing all I can to help them succeed in the days, months, and years ahead."

Tennessee Republican Party: 

With her historic victory as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee, the leadership of the Tennessee Republican Party issued the following statements extending their congratulations to Marsha Blackburn:

“Tennesseans sent a clear message tonight: they want a true conservative champion to represent them in the U.S. Senate, and they knew Marsha Blackburn is that champion,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden. “Marsha will continue to represent our Tennessee values in Washington and she will stand with President Trump to put America First. We are proud of the race she ran and congratulate her as our next senator from the great state of Tennessee.”

“Marsha Blackburn’s victory marks an important moment in our state's history,” said Tennessee Republican Party Vice Chair Jennifer Little. “Not only does her win have national implications for our party, but she is the first woman elected to the Senate from Tennessee. Marsha has been breaking barriers her entire career and I could not be prouder to have her representing our state in the U.S. Senate.”

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge):

"Marsha Blackburn ran an outstanding campaign from start to finish. When the pundits had all but counted her out, she just fought harder. Marsha is the conservative champion we need in Washington to fight for the Trump agenda. She fought for Tennessee values in the legislature and in Congress. She will now continue the fight as Senator. I am grateful she will join a Senate majority in Washington committed to putting America First. Having served at the state level as well as the federal level, Marsha will help bring power back to the states and truly make America great again."

MORE COVERAGE: 

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